Thor: Ragnarok is Marvel’s third installment with the God of Thunder and the SEVENTEENTH film in its cinematic universe overall. Directed by Taika Waititi, Marvel took a different approach with Thor: Ragnarok by relying heavily on the film’s comedy. It’s no shock that Marvel decided to spice things up with this Thor film because the God of Thunder’s standalone movies aren’t exactly the most popular films in the MCU. The switch in tone has seemed to have paid off making an estimated $121 million domestically in its opening weekend.
In Thor: Ragnarok we find Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who has been searching for the Infinity Stones since his departure from Earth. Taken prisoner by the demon Surtur, Thor is informed that his father Odin is no longer on Asgard leaving it vulnerable for Surtur to destroy Asgard. Thus completing Ragnarok prophecy. After defeating Surtur, Thor travels back home to realize his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been posing as Odin, upset with his brother Thor and Loki go to Earth to find their father. With the help of Stephen Strange (Benjamin Cumberbatch), the brothers are reunited with their father. Reunited, Odin explains to his sons that he is dying and his death will allow his first-born daughter Hela the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett) to break free from the prison she is in. Once Odin dies Hella appears, after breaking Thor’s hammer he and Loki attempt to escape through the Biforst Bridge. The brothers are unsuccessful, and Hela casts them out into space to die.
Thor and Loki end up on the trash planet of Sakaar where Thor is taken prisoner by the bounty hunter Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). Valkyrie sells the God of Thunder to the planet’s ruler, the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). With the Grandmaster, Thor is forced to fight as a gladiator against his champion and to Thor’s surprise that champion happens to be the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). After getting nearly killed by the Hulk in a fight to the “almost” death, Thor is able to convince him to help him escape. Together the trio of Thor, the Hulk, and Valkyrie escape Sakaar and head to Asgard to prevent Ragnarok from happening.
Thor: Ragnarok is very different film compared to Thor and Thor: The Dark World, as stated before, with it relying more on the film’s humor than its actual story. Continuing the lightheartedness of MCU films Thor: Ragnarok doesn’t fall short on it. Director Taika Waititi’s comedic style of directing is sprinkled throughout the entire film, making Thor: Ragnarok more of a comedy than anything else, and one of the funniest Marvel films competing with Guardians of the Galaxy. Unfortunately, the film relies too much on humor and comedic relief which took away from what was at stake, which was the complete destruction of Agard. Had the humor been dialed back on crucial moments it would have made the film that much greater but instead it took the direction of throwing humor even into the darkest of moments for the film which made it hard to feel a connection to any of the characters.
With Ragnarok giving the MCU its first female villain played by Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett the Marvel franchise still has a villain problem. With no real depth to Hela, she falls into the vault of underdeveloped villains whose motivations are not hashed out into great detail. Like all Marvel films, the story focuses mostly on the heroes, which isn’t a shock because Marvel movies are SUPERHERO films, but it would be nice to see a developed villain face off against these superheroes.
A character that deserves praise for his performance is Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. The Grandmaster may be one of the strangest and funniest characters the MCU has seen. Giving an element of wittiness and insanity to the character, the Grandmaster never seemed to disappoint when he was one screen, and he is a character who hopefully reoccurs his role in the MCU.
As for the rest of the films cast, Hemsworth did a great job at reprising his role as the God of Thunder especially with the humor the character is given which really allowed Hemsworth to shine. Ruffalo as the Hulk/Bruce Banner gave audiences a comedic side to the character that is not seen in the other MCU films which added a significant element to the character. As for Tessa Thompson’s character, Valkyrie, the MCU’s newest protagonist. Her character’s rise and fall are seen on screen, and Thompson displays it excellently mainly in the films third act. And as for Hiddleston he and Hemsworth had a brotherly chemistry on screen, and we see Loki end this film as a hero, for now at least.
Director Taika Waititi did an excellent job of reinventing the character of Thor in Thor: Ragnarok. By giving the character and film the much-needed humor it desperately was looking for he made a film that Marvel fans will undoubtedly love. Although it may not be the most significant Marvel film, it indeed is an entertaining and visually great film. If you are looking for a fun moviegoing experience Thor: Ragnarok is a film you will not be disappointed with.
Final Grade: B